Roxanne turned on the red light; its glow ran out into the misty Parisian air and tumbled over the cobblestones below her window. Washing the Rue de Duperre with sordid promise, the reddish, rosy mist announced, with brash and brazen certainty, that Roxanne was open for business.
She adjusted her dress, made of silk and soft to the touch, tight in the right places and revealing enough flesh to stimulate the imagination and quicken the pulse. She looked at herself approvingly in the full length mirror. The mirror, which had been situated with discretion at the foot of her four poster bed and tilted slightly to enhance the pleasure, had seen it all. Roxanne knew she was a beautiful woman with just the right amount of slut to entice the right kind of client.
A few last checks, little adjustments to her boudoir and herself, candles and incense lit, expensive perfume dabbed sparingly on her slender, vulnerable neck and the champagne placed on ice. Roxanne loaded and placed a Derringer Muff pistol into her stocking top, cold reassuring steel burnt her thigh as she rearranged her dress and walked over to the window.
She knew how to make them feel powerful; handsome, generous….needed; how to be the girl next door or the brazen whore. Like an actor she honed her skills, rehearsed her lines and knew her audience well. Men came to her for a host of reasons; sex with a whore, for a lot of them, was just their way of reconnecting with the world, of feeling something other than emptiness, despondency or loneliness. Roxanne considered herself a practitioner of love; she offered a service people needed, like medicine or nursing and felt that her work was as important and fulfilling as anyone’s.
Illuminated under a funnel of light stood a lone figure of a man by a lamppost, he pulled hard on a cigarette, its tip burnt life into his features, his sad eyes dulled with the pain of loss and regret. Roxanne recognised her 10.30 appointment, a nice enough man, widowed without a doubt; he liked to role play. He always paid over the odds and brought gifts and kind words, he wanted to believe she was his lover. Mid coitus he made promises of love and offered to rescue her…. but never after. She played the game for as long as it took. Roxanne didn’t want or need to be saved. While fucking her he would whisper;
Roxanne you don’t have to put on the red light
those days are over
you don’t have to sell your body to the night
Roxy tried not to think about her life and never compared it to that of other people. Other people were another species, another race of being; Roxy was as alien to them as they were to her. Other people were, as far as she was concerned, either a problem or a means to an end. The cell floor was cold and hard on her undernourished arse and to other people that might have been a problem but for her, discomfort had become a rather dull companion. Discomfort was all she knew, it just came in different strengths.
She remembered being a small girl, a shy and confused but happy girl sitting in the window of an orphanage. The sun shone through the glass, warming her face and filling her with a simple yet inexplicable joy. Caught in the light of a sunbeam she saw dust particles dancing like tiny angels, she extended her hand to touch the fragile creatures, to catch them as they danced around her, they beckoned for her to join them but she timidly refused.
The rest of the children played on the other side of the window, their laughter a lullaby sending her off to sleep. Everyone else existed on the other side of that window and they still did.
Amidst the pain and brutality, while she struggled and pleaded and prayed for her new foster father to stop doing whatever it was he was doing to her, she was too young to know, she caught a glimpse of the dust Angels dancing in a shard of sunlight. For a moment she was able to leave her body and dance with them, carelessly unaware of her own plight. It was a fleeting moment, an oasis of joy in the midst of a storm. History had a way of repeating itself, it was sad but true, and yet within the horror, during the rape, defenceless as she was Roxy found a way to escape.
Her pretty pink bedroom, her lovely new things, her school dress hanging from the back of the door, her dolls, they saw it all but would never tell. Before he removed his hand from her mouth and his cock from her bleeding vagina, he made her promise not to tell anyone, she would get into big trouble if she did. It was all her fault.
Several years later she found herself homeless and vulnerable, living on the streets with the rest of the untouchables. Other people were very good at not seeing you, of avoiding your gaze, of walking past like you didn’t exist. So when a kind young man offered her food and a blanket she took it, she had no choice, she was cold and hungry. When he offered her heroine for the first time, she took it, she had no choice, because by now he had given her hope and love and kindness. When he forced her to go on the game to pay for her drugs, she had to, she had no choice; she was hooked.
Now Roxy, an orphan let down by everyone whether they meant well or not, sat in a prison cell at four in the morning charged with loitering with intent to sell sex in a public place. She didn’t feel like a criminal, she just felt like she hadn’t had a choice; ever.
Before her pimp came for her she wanted to savour a few precious moments of peace, to try and wrestle something of worth from a life that only ever took. Roxy tried not to think about what would happen next, how he’d make her believe it was all her fault. He’d beat her and throw her back out onto the street.
A few moments of quiet before she would have to endure all that only to beg him to take her back!
Now with the help of the drugs she danced with the Angels between the abuse, between the beatings and the torture, between the punters. Unaware of her own humiliation, of her own slavery, of an alternative, she’d become a piece of meat, a commodity to be used, abused and discarded on a whim, a broken Angel with no wings and nowhere to fly to.
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